Thursday, March 01, 2007

Odd Thomas Trilogy

You may wonder about me after this. I am a serious Dean Koontz fan! No, I do not like the horror genre per se (I read Salem's Lot as a teenager and slept with a crucifix under my pillow for months!--I don't like horror).

However, the Odd Thomas books are not so much horror as they are supernatural mysteries. Furthermore, there are clear elements of good vs. evil throughout all of Dean Koontz' books. I don't know his theology, but Dean Koontz has some very deep insights into the meaning of life.

Consider this dialogue from Forever Odd:

While Carla brought another chair out of the restaurant, put it next to mine, sat down, and fussed over me, Wyatt used the Police Ban radio to order an ambulance. When he returned I said, “Sir? You know what’s wrong with humanity?”

“Plenty,” he said.

“The greatest gift we were given was our free will and we keep misusing it.”

“Don’t worry your self with that now,” Carla advised me.

“You know what’s wrong with nature,” I asked her “with all its poisoned plants, predatory animals, earthquakes, and floods?”

“You’re upsetting yourself, sweetie.”

“When we envied—when we killed for what we envied, we fell. And when we fell, we broke the whole shebang; nature, too.”

A kitchen worker whom I knew who had worked part time at the grill, Manuel Nunez, arrived with a fresh beer.

“I don’t think he should have that,” Carla worried.

Taking the beer from him I said, “Manuel, how you doing?”

“Looks like better than you.”

“I was just dead for a while, that’s all. Manuel, do you know what’s wrong with cosmic time as we know it, which steals everything from us?”

“Isn’t it spring forward and fall back?” Manuel asked, thinking we were talking about Daylight savings time.

“When we fell and broke,” I said, “we broke nature, too. And when we broke nature, we broke time.”

“Is that from Star Trek?” Manuel asked.

“Probably, but it’s true.”

“I like that show. It helped me learn English.”

“You speak it well,” I told him.

“I had a brogue for a while because I got so into Scotty’s character,” Manuel said.

“Once there were no predators, no prey, only harmony. There were no quakes, no storms: everything in balance. In the beginning time was all at once and forever; no past, present, and future; no death. We broke it all.”

Chief Porter tried to take the Heineken from me. I held on to it.

“Sir, do you know what sucks the worst about the human condition?”

Bill Burton said, “Taxes?”

“It’s even worse than that,” I told him.

Manuel said, “Gasoline costs too much, and low mortgage rates are gone.”

“What sucks the worst is this world was a gift to us and we broke it. And part of the deal is that if we want things right, we have to fix it ourselves. But we can’t. We try, but we can’t.”

I started to cry. The tears surprised me. I thought I was done with tears for the duration.

Manuel put a hand on my shoulder and said, “Maybe we can fix it, Odd. You know, maybe.”

I shook my head, “No. We’re broken. A broken thing can’t fix itself.”

I'll let you contemplate that bit of Oddology for a while.

Odd Thomas is a 21-year-old fry cook in Pico Mundo, California. He sees dead people, but, as he says, "I do something about it." Since the lingering dead complicate his life so much--he intentionally lives a very sparse and simplistic life style. He doesn't need any more complications.

According to Odd, the lingering dead linger generally because of some unresolved issue. Some continue to linger because they just can't let go of this life. He tries to help them resolve their issues and go on. Of course, Koontz compounds the problem by making the lingering dead mute and unable to explain their issues.

Odd is haunted particularly by a benevolent ghost: Elvis Presley. Odd has several theories why Elvis would haunt Pico Mundo. (He thinks perhaps it is because, while Elvis seems to have visited every place in the world, he never made it to Pico Mundo). However, you won't find out definitely the answer to that question until Brother Odd.

Btw, Odd is not a nick name. The main character's parents claimed his name was supposed to be "Todd" but the nurses got it wrong on his birth certificate and they never corrected it. Odd has serious doubts with his parent's explanation.

If you ever want to read some serious "good vs. evil" novels, then I suggest Dean Koontz. Other great novels of his include From the Corner of His Eye and One Door Away From Heaven.

1 comment:

Darryl said...

Ah, Odd Thomas is back! Dean's latest book is ODD HOURS and he is promising another three to bring the grand total to seven books in the series! Can he maintain his momentum? Well, if Rowling could do it, why not Koontz?